51 Facts About Alejo Carpentier


Alejo Carpentier y Valmont was a Cuban novelist, essayist, and musicologist who greatly influenced Latin American literature during its famous "boom" period.


Alejo Carpentier traveled extensively, particularly in France, and to South America and Mexico, where he met prominent members of the Latin American cultural and artistic community.


Alejo Carpentier took a keen interest in Latin American politics and often aligned himself with revolutionary movements, such as Fidel Castro's Communist Revolution in Cuba in the mid-20th century.


Alejo Carpentier was jailed and exiled for his leftist political philosophies.


Alejo Carpentier explored elements of Afro-Cubanism and incorporated the cultural aspects into the majority of his writings.


Alejo Carpentier was among the first practitioners of magical realism using the technique, lo real maravilloso to explore the fantastic quality of Latin American history and culture.


Alejo Carpentier's writing style integrated the resurgent Baroque style, or New World Baroque style that Latin American artists adopted from the European model and assimilated to the Latin American artistic vision.

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Always eager to explore more than Cuban identity, Alejo Carpentier used his traveling experiences throughout Europe and Latin American to expand his understanding of Latin American identity.


Alejo Carpentier wove elements of Latin American political history, music, social injustice and art into the tapestries of his writings, all of which exerted a decisive influence on the works of younger Latin American and Cuban writers like Lisandro Otero, Leonardo Padura and Fernando Velazquez Medina.


Alejo Carpentier died in Paris in 1980 and was buried in Havana's Colon Cemetery with other Cuban political and artistic luminaries.


Alejo Carpentier was born on December 26,1904, in Lausanne, Switzerland, to Jorge Julian Alejo Carpentier, a French architect, and Lina Valmont, a Russian language teacher.


In 1921, Alejo Carpentier attended the School of Architecture of the University of Havana.


Alejo Carpentier turned to journalism, working for the Cuban newspapers Carteles and Social.


In 1921, while studying in Havana, Alejo Carpentier became a cultural journalist, writing mostly about avant-garde developments in the arts, particularly music.


Alejo Carpentier was arrested in 1927 for opposing Gerardo Machado y Morales dictatorship and had signed a democratic and anti-imperialist manifesto against Machado's regime and, as a result, spent forty days in jail.


Alejo Carpentier decided on a voluntary exile to France and arrived in Paris in 1928; he remained there until 1939, when he returned to Havana.


Alejo Carpentier was familiar with the activities of the Comite de Jeunes Revolutionnaires Cubains, a group of exiled Cuban leftists who had published La Terreur a Cuba, a brochure against the Machado government.


Alejo Carpentier documented the latest news about this group and their activities in his book Homenaje a nuestros amigos de Paris.


Alejo Carpentier contributed the short story Histoire de Lunes ; it was experimental for its time as it contained elements of fantasy and folklore characterized as magical reality.


In film, Alejo Carpentier wrote text and edited music for the French documentary Le Vaudou.


Alejo Carpentier continued to earn his living by writing on contemporary culture, both in French and Spanish.


Alejo Carpentier began working for a French radio station as a sound-technician and producer.


From 1932 until 1939 Alejo Carpentier worked on several projects produced by Foniric Studios.


Alejo Carpentier directed the production of Le Livre de Christophe Colomb and collaborated with Desnos on arranging readings of Edgar Allan Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and Walt Whitman's Salute to the World.


In 1943, accompanied by French theatrical director Louis Jouvet, Alejo Carpentier made a crucial trip to Haiti, during which he visited the fortress of the Citadelle Laferriere and the Palace of Sans-Souci, both built by the black king Henri Christophe.

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Alejo Carpentier returned to Cuba and continued to work as a journalist at the outbreak of World War II.


Alejo Carpentier worked on a history of Cuban music, eventually published in 1946 as La musica en Cuba.


Alejo Carpentier wrote short stories which were later collected in The War of Time.


Alejo Carpentier returned to Cuba after the triumph of the revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959.


Alejo Carpentier worked for the State Publishing House while he completed the baroque-style book, El Siglo de las Luces.


In 1966, Alejo Carpentier settled in Paris where he served as Cuban ambassador to France.


Alejo Carpentier received the Cervantes Prize in 1977 and was recipient of the French Laureates Prix Medicis etranger in 1979 for La harpe et l'ombre.


Alejo Carpentier was struggling with cancer as he completed his final novel, El arpa y la sombra, and finally died in Paris on April 24,1980.


Alejo Carpentier's remains were returned to Cuba for interment in the Colon Cemetery, Havana.


Alejo Carpentier is widely known for his theory of lo real maravilloso.


Alejo Carpentier himself played the piano, as did his mother; his father played cello, studying under Pablo Casals, and his grandmother played the organ.


Alejo Carpentier studied music theory at the Lycee Janson-de-Sailly when he lived in Paris for the first time.


Early in his career Alejo Carpentier collaborated with other young musicians eager to explore Cuban musical roots.


Navarro suggests that readers of Alejo Carpentier's works are more listeners than they are readers.


In 1946, Alejo Carpentier published the ethnomusicological study La Musica en Cuba which explores how European music, transplanted African music and the indigenous music of the island all blended together to create Cuban music.


Alejo Carpentier devoted the majority of his musicology research to the Afro-Cuban influences present in Cuba.


For example, Alejo Carpentier paid particular attention to Contradanza, a wildly popular Cuban dance derived from the European style of music and dance, Contredanse.


Alejo Carpentier argued that the improvisation inherent in African influenced music allowed for varied interpretations that catalyzed regional differences and therefore regional identity, and concluded that this was why Cuba had such a varied musical identity.


Alejo Carpentier devotes a great deal of his study to exploring the influence African descendants had on Cuban music.


Alejo Carpentier, though, was eager to do so and by making bold statements about Cuba's past and integral relationships with a wide range of cultures he succeeded in giving back to Cuba an in-depth academic perspective of its own cultural identity through its music.

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Alejo Carpentier first became fascinated with this style in architecture and sculpture; however, he later describes el barroco as un espiritu, and not un estilo historico.


Alejo Carpentier developed his vision of the baroque in his early works before he described himself as a baroque writer.


Alejo Carpentier experimented with the technique in several developmental stages: "first as a cultural style of aesthetic fascination, later as a literary device to create period ambiance, and finally as a weapon of postcolonial pride, defiance and one-upmanship".


Kaup claims that Alejo Carpentier utilizes what is known as the "New World Baroque", since Latin America didn't come into contact with the Enlightenment or "European modernity".


Alejo Carpentier, inspired by French Surrealists, learned to view his Cuban home in this new light.


Alejo Carpentier left France with a bursting sense of Cuban and Latin American pride and the artistic goal to capture what it meant to be both.